Drones will become part of the vineyard scene

Drones will become part of the vineyard scene

rsz_drones_-_imageWhen most Kiwis think about drones, they probably think of American Predator drones hunting terrorists or, closer to home, the cricket camera drone that was attacked by seagulls during a recent match at the Basin Reserve. While drones – also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) – were developed by the military, there are a growing number of drones used for distinctly civilian purposes.

A number of international vineyards use drones to remotely monitor grape growth. John Hart from AgriTech believes they are “one of the fastest-growing new tech sectors worldwide. As workhorses their future looks bright in New Zealand.”

Hart states “my prediction is that within a decade, UAVs on farms will be as ubiquitous and just as indispensable as quad bikes are today. When quad bikes were introduced we had no inkling of the range of future uses we would come up with, from spraying to pasture measuring. UAVs will unlock the same ability to do new things over our farms and forests.”

He notes “in the primary sector UAVs are already being used for everything from simple farm and orchard mapping right through to capturing sophisticated diagnostic imagery to determine plant health, soil moisture and even disease symptoms – all from the air.” This technology has tremendous implications for the wine industry.

Chris Thomson of Callaghan Innovation says the “economic potential to supercharge our agricultural productivity is huge. It’s own, soon to be published analysis makes the case for an economic benefit of $125-$160 million a year from UAV use in the primary sector.”

Source: AgriTech (http://agrihq.co.nz/article/farming-for-the-future-drone-technology-set-to-take-off)

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